Philippines’ War on Drugs: four Food Not Bombs volunteers murdered, one in jail

As most of you probably heard, Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte, who assumed office in July 2016, had launched the “Philippine Drug War” known also as “Operation Double Barrel”. The disgraceful campaign aims at “the neutralization of illegal drug personalities nationwide”.

The policy gave a green light to cops to routinely execute drug suspects and then plant guns and drugs on them. What’s more, there is evidence that the police is using hospitals to hide their killings. Duterte also urged the citizens of Philippines to lynch suspected drug addicts and criminals.

In Summer 2018, four Food Not Bombs volunteers have been killed, and one has been framed for drug possession and is in jail awaiting trial. The families and friends of the victims believe that both the murders and the arrest are the result of Duterte’s war on drugs.

The four murdered activists are:

Chris Jose Eleazar (aka Mokiam)
Food Not Bombs Bukidnon/Davao volunteer
Born: Nov.17, 1990 Killed: Sept. 15, 2018

Jan Ray Patindol (aka Pating)
Food Not Bombs Davao volunteer
Born: January 2, 1989 Killed: Sep.15,2018

Jessie Villanueva De Guzman
Food Not Bombs Baliwag Volunteer
Born: June 2,1990 Killed: July 6, 2018

Patrick Paul Pile
Food Not Bombs Baliwag Volunteer
Born: December 10, 1988 Killed: July 23,2018

Chris Jose Eleazar and Jan Ray Patindol were tortured and killed during a police raid on the home of a Food Not Bombs volunteer on in September 2018. Their bodies were covered with cigarette burns and bruises. The police claim that they “fought back”, however, the victims’ friends said the two did not resist and that the wounds on their bodies indicated that the two young men were tortured.

Jessie Villanueva De Guzman and Patrick Paul Pile were murdered in separate incidents in July 2018. They were very active members of Food Not Bombs Baliwag. Both made their living as night-time tricycle drivers.

Jessie was killed by the police in Baliwag, Bulacan. A week after his murder, Patrick took a passenger on his tricycle. At the end of the agreed route, a group of police were waiting. Patrick was killed by one gun shot to his back. He is one of many tricycle riders killed in similar way.

In all four cases, the police claimed that the victims were killed during “legitimate operations” and that they resisted arrest and “fought back.

In August 2018 in  the municipality of Bantayan, Cebu, a Food Not Bombs volunteer Marco was arrested and is awaiting trial after apparently being framed for drug possession.  Marco is a long standing activist: he initiated the Food Not Bombs project in Bantayan.

He is enduring hellish conditions in prison. Despite of the political situation in the country, his supporters would like to do anything it takes for Marco to get a fair trial in what they know first hand is a corrupt state.

In a crowdfunder website created to help Marco fight his charges, Food not Bombs organiser Chris writes: “A kind person called Marco (Cram) who I met on a quiet island called Bantayan to the north of Cebu was arrested in early August for allegedly using and selling drugs. During this arrest a packet was planted on him. He is innocent of the charges. It seems that he was set-up and if left unaided will become just another jail statistic.”

Human rights organisations estimate that up to date, Operation Double Barrel lead to the death of more than 12 thousand people. In the first year, the victims included 54 children. Lawyers who defended drug suspects have also been targeted.

The Amnesty International report from January 2017 details “how the police have systematically targeted mostly poor and defenceless people across the country while planting ‘evidence’, recruiting paid killers, stealing from the people they kill and fabricating official incident reports.” In the report, AI expressed deep concern “that the deliberate, widespread and systematic killings of alleged drug offenders, which appear to be planned and organized by the authorities, may constitute crimes against humanity under international law.”

You can support Marco’s campaign here.

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Source and photo: Food Not Bombs